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csziggy's Journal
csziggy's Journal
April 23, 2015

We cut down and thinned out dozens of trees

But turned around and planted a few thousand pines, oaks, dogwoods and cedars.

When we bought our farm, there were areas with scrubby oaks growing so close together you couldn't see through them. We thinned out those areas, and also cut down some trees that were unhealthy or in places where they were in the way. Back then, the Forestry Department sold bare root seedlings in bunches for about $10 a bunch - 1000 pines, 500 dogwoods, 1000 red cedars got planted in the first few years. A couple of years later a neighbor split a bunch of hybrid oaks. We also bought some small sycamore trees, hollies, and a green ash. Each year we'd buy a live tree for the holidays and planted it after the first of the year.

Now 35 years later there are more trees on this ridge than there were when we bought the place and they are healthier than those original trees we took out. With 60 acres we have lots of room for trees. In fact the 30 acres at the bottom of the ridge that is lowland is completely forested and has a native stand of American beech trees that is unusual in Florida - one was the Champion American beech of Florida for a while, but they found a specimen tree that is larger.

April 21, 2015

Yesterday while I was in the middle of replying in a thread our power went out

Later when it came back on, I went back to that thread to say nothing major happened. Well we missed the major thing:

Confirmed Tornado Touched Down in Leon County Sunday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Leon County late Sunday morning, north of Tallahassee.

An EF1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 95 MPH left a path of nearly 4.7 miles about 5 miles North of Tallahassee ending about a mile North of Maclay Gardens.

The tornado lasted about 8 minutes from 11: 51 a.m. until 11:59 a.m.

Surveyors say that sporadic tree damage was found along a path that was as wide as 350 yards in some areas.

MacClay Gardens is about 10 miles southwest of us. Just before the power went out the local TV station said a possible tornado was moving northeast. Good thing it fell apart before it got here!

We had another line of bad storms come through this morning. When my husband went for groceries this afternoon, there was a tree down in our drive and one down across the street.

We did have a casualty - in the pine tree that fell down there had been a woodpecker nest. The tree broke at that point and one baby was dead in the remains of the nest.
April 17, 2015

Donít let lack of records stop your search

Every so often Sharon Tate Moody writes a column for the Tampa Tribune. Her columns are available without subscription on TBO.com:

Sharon Tate Moody is a board-certified genealogist. Send your genealogical methodology questions and event announcements to her at stmoody0720@mac.com. She regrets she is unable to assist with personal research and cannot respond to requests for locating or researching individuals. Past Heritage Hunting columns are available online at tbo.com, search words “Sharon Tate Moody.”

This column is one I clipped from the paper last month when I was visiting down state. I'd forgotten about it and thought people here would be interested.
Don’t let lack of records stop your search
Tribune correspondent
Published: March 22, 2015

Do you have an ancestor who seems, to you, a one-dimensional cardboard figure? He’s the guy who left few records and you feel lucky just to have approximated his dates of birth, marriage and death. Maybe the courthouses where he lived always burned. Or he may have been unable to read or write, eliminating the possibility of letters and diaries.


You don’t want to fictionalize your ancestors, but with some imagination, steeped in local history and cultural awareness, you can learn and write about what life probably was like for them.

With what few records you have, build a place and time frame for a family. If you have nothing but censuses, look closely at questions asked in the various years. For example, the 1900 census actually asks the month and year of birth. The 1910 census asked for the number of years in the current marriage. The 1920 census asked questions about immigration and naturalization. Beginning in 1880, a relationship between the head of the household and each person in the household was stated. By using the censuses alone you can find much to build a timeline.

Once you have your ancestor in specific places at specific times — and with luck you’ve learned his occupation — it’s time to explore what was happening around this one-dimensional man, your ancestor.

More: http://tbo.com/lifestyle/dont-let-lack-of-records-stop-your-search-20150322/

I really like her approach in this column - I like to know the stories around my ancestors and she gives some great suggestions for building a life story even on people you know little about. She also gives wonderful links to help in your research in nearly ever column.
April 14, 2015

A bluebird wants inside my house!

We have a bluebird nest about 50 feet below the house and normally they are happy living there. But this morning there has been one male bluebird flying at the windows and hanging off the screen in the library where I spend most of my time.

One window, the one he started flying at first, doesn't have a screen on it. I took it out last summer when our house air conditioner was out of service so we could put a window unit in. Since the mesh needs to be replaced, we didn't put the screen back in. At first I thought the bluebird was trying to eat the spiders that live on that window, but he doesn't seem to be doing that.

He keeps flying back and forth between various windows and the trees near the house. Now he's brought a buddy - I can't tell if it's another male or a female.

April 14, 2015

Obamacare saves the day again!

A couple my husband and I have known since their college days just ran into a major problem. Both have significant health issues and just recently were approved for full disability. They were both on Medicaid and have been trying to catch up with their checkups. One pressing need is for the husband to have his eyes checked - he's been having trouble seeing clearly enough to read. He had an appointment this week for that checkup and my husband was going to give him a ride to the eye doctor.

We got a call this morning - they had gotten a notice that their Medicare was cancelled. BOOM! No coverage at all. They were in complete panic. Their medical bills would run in the tens of thousands of dollars a year if they didn't have coverage. They had no idea what to do on such short notice and they have no computer connected to the internet.

I spent a few minutes looking up contact information for them. Gave my husband the toll free numbers for HealthCare.gov and for the Florida managed care system. They called the first number and got coverage set up. Even though they only get about $1800 a month in disability - and I believe that is their only income - they will have to pay $115 a month for a silver package. They went for the higher quality plan to reduce their out of pocket expenses.

I'm sure part of the problem with their Medicaid coverage is Rick Scott's refusal to use the Medicaid expansion in the ACA. Since they vote Republican, I won't discuss health coverage with them but I told my husband he should mention it to them so they can think it over.

I'm really happy they can get healthcare. Without the ACA they would be completely uninsurable due to their health histories. I hope they appreciate that - and I hope the SCOTUS doesn't take away the help they are getting to pay their premiums. Without a subsidy, they would not be able to afford insurance at all!

April 10, 2015

Working with very old negatives and slides

I've posted about some of this before but I will add updates as I work with the old film I have from my father.

My Dad took lots of pictures over the years, but he didn't store his slides or negatives - or even the prints from them - very well. Some slides are in old leatherette boxes, some were just thrown loose into drawers, sometimes in baggies, sometimes in paper envelopes. The negatives are even worse - many were in paper envelopes, some in the original ones from the developers.

But the worst was the cache we found in his dresser drawer. Here is a partial inventory:

11 reels Univex 8mm cine film - 2" to 2-3/8" reels. Some are very curled side to side, some are held closed with tape, some have lengths just hanging out.

8-9 rolls 35mm negatives, unknown number of exposures. Very tightly coiled, some very brittle. Need unrolled and flattened, maybe scanned.

Under the 8mm film were newspaper clippings from 1939. Other negatives and prints found in the drawer date from the late 1930s and 1940s - pictures of dowtown Tampa, Florida in the late 1930s and baby pictures of my oldest sister taken in 1946, for instance.

3 rolls undeveloped Kodak Plus-X PX135 - 36 exposure film

1 roll undeveloped Kodak Super XX 135 - 20 exposure film

2 rolls undeveloped Panchromatic (made in Belgium) exposed, unknown number of images

1 roll undeveloped Agfa A-8 exposed

There were also a number of individual medium format negatives just loose in an envelope along with some contact prints of some of the negatives but not all. Those I have scanned (without cleaning). They date from the late 1930s by the cars in some images, and the age of my uncle in a couple of them. Some of those negatives are of historic interest and they have been lent to the Florida Photographic Archives to be scanned.

After talking to the experts at the archives I tried to work with the tightly coiled negatives. I put them in room temperature purified water. So far three rolls completely disintegrated. When the archive experts looked at those, they didn't give me any hope of recovering them so I was not surprised.

One roll was too fragile to hang to dry but it held together enough for my husband and I to lay it out full length on a clean white cotton sheet. We can see images but who knows what will happen when it dries?

Two full rolls are in decent shape and are hung up in the upstairs bathroom to dry. The other rolls were groups of short strips - they are hung up also.

Progress of sorts!
April 9, 2015

Florida's top elections official under fire on two fronts

Florida's top elections official under fire on two fronts

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau April 8, 2015 Updated 12 hours ago

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott's chief elections official is in big trouble with two key groups: state legislators who write the voting laws and county election supervisors who run elections.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner can't afford to alienate either constituency as Florida heads toward a presidential election in 2016, when the eyes of the nation will again be on the biggest battleground state.

Lawmakers blasted Detzner on Wednesday for fighting their plan to let people register to vote online by October 2017. Elections officials were livid to learn Detzner released private data on more than 45,000 voters, including judges and police officers -- and didn't alert them immediately.

Detzner's office acknowledged the security breach on so-called high-risk voters -- who should have been exempt from disclosure -- included judges, police, firefighters, prosecutors, public defenders, and crime victims and their family members, among others.

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2015/04/08/5736012/floridas-top-elections-official.html#storylink=cpy

The three questions that I had immediately - when even the Republican dominated Florida Legislature is dubious of this guy how can he be effective? Why hasn't the information about his department's security breach made headlines all over the country?

And the most important question I have - if his department is that incompetent at controlling private information on individuals how can we trust them to run elections at all, much less online voting?
April 8, 2015

I have a new but hidden cat

No, not the cat named Lily that I thought I was going to adopt. Some friends of my husband had to reduce the number of their cat at least until they can move out of the decrepit mobile home to another location. So he agreed to adopt "Blackie" a adult neutered black male cat with one eye. The description I got was that he spent most of his time outside, didn't answer to his name and would eat anything.

My husband brought him home Monday afternoon. He had set up the bathroom upstairs for the cat with food, water and a litter box. My plan was that we would leave him in there for a few days, let my cat interact through the door and take it from there. My cat went upstairs but seemed unaware there was another cat in the house.

Yesterday we had an appointment in town. Without telling me my husband left the door to the bathroom where Blackie was living open. When we got home, Blackie was no where to be found. We still have not seen or heard from Blackie. We've looked all over the house and haven't seen the cat. Although we have a cat door to the outside, Blackie doesn't know where it is or how to use it.

Upstairs, Blackie only had access to the bathroom, the hallway and my husband's office. The way down the stairs is completely open, but Blackie was very frightened, in a new house with new people and the smell of an unknown cat all around. My cat has not reacted at all, so he's not giving us any clues to where Blackie can be.

I don't think Blackie has made it down the stairs. I think he found some place upstairs to hide that my husband hasn't found.

My only theory at this point is that Blackie crawled up inside the recliner in my husband's office as a place to hide. But we can't get to the back right now and even if we could we wouldn't be able to see all the crevices a cat could hide - we know this from past experiences.

We're still putting fresh food and water out and my husband can check the litter box to see if it's been used - but my cat can now get in to use/mark it so that may not help.

At this point, I am not sure what to do to find Blackie and try to make him more comfortable here.

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Hometown: Leon County, Florida
Member since: Tue Feb 12, 2008, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 34,135
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